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Knowledge category: Funding and financing

Horizon Europe

Updated on 18.11.2022

Horizon Europe stimulates excellent research, tackles major EU challenges, and promotes an EU 'innovation climate' by supporting innovation advances contributing to EU objectives.

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

Pillar II of the Horizon Europe programme is particularly relevant to cities and regions, as it often provides targeted opportunities in circular economy advances. Even project development assistance for the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative is provided through specific calls in missions or in Clusters 4 to 6. In particular, Cluster 6 has a specific destination targeting circular economy and bioeconomy.

Applicant criteria

Horizon Europe is open to any legal entity based in the EU Member States and Associated Countries. Often, cooperation between at least three parties from three different countries is required (at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State and at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries).

Eligible projects/themes

Examples of common project types include:

  1. Research and innovation actions;
  2. Innovation actions;
  3. and Coordination and support actions.

Themes include health, culture, creativity, society, civil security, digitalisation, industry, space, climate, energy and mobility, food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture, and environment. Missions are also part of Horizon Europe, with themes such as adaptation to climate change (including societal transformation), cancer, climate-neutral and smart cities, healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters, and soil health and food.

Amount of funding

  • € 95.5 billion for the period 2021-2027;
  • € 8.9 billion for Cluster 6;
  • € 2-6 million per project (typically)

Application process

  1. The European Commission publishes calls for proposals on the funding and tenders portal:
  2. The call is open for a typical period of around five months, during which applicants can submit their proposal
  3. Proposals can be single or two-stage application processes. A single-stage application process requires the filling in of a structured proposal of max. 45 pages, including objectives and innovation approach (excellence), tangible impacts that can be achieved through the project (impact), and project planning and tasks (quality). In a two-stage application process, the process described above would become the second-stage application, following a first stage involving a simplified proposal of max. 10 pages, including only excellence and impact sections. These documents are to be uploaded to the portal in PDF format. The respective parts of the portal must also be filled in with administrative information about the beneficiaries, affiliated entities or others. All participants in a project must possess a Participant Identification Code (PIC number, i.e. a 9-digit number registered on ECAS, the Commission's main authentication service).
  4. Proposals submitted within the deadline will be evaluated by experts against evaluation criteria.
  5. Winning proposals will be invited to sign a grant agreement with the Commission.


The deadline depends on the specific call. Typical deadline periods are September-October and February-April. The current Horizon Europe programme will run until 2027.

Financing type

Grants & subsidies

Territories involved

Rural areas

<5 000


large 500 000-200 000, medium 200 000-50 000, and small cities 50 000-5 000

Metropolitan areas

large metropolitan area >1.5 million, metropolitan area 1.5 million-500 000



predominantly urban regions, intermediate and predominantly rural regions, refer to TERCET typology NUTS 3 region




Intra-territorial areas

Industrial zones

Agricultural zones

Brown field zones

Coastal areas

Mountain areas


Cross-border areas


Water areas


e.g. commercial, residential, service, industrial